The "Morichal"-A South American environment that you may have not thought of...

If you're like us, you're always looking for new ideas- new environments to simulate, to stretch your creativity a bit. Today, we're going to take a brief glimpse at an aquatic environment that is just begging for your to replicate in the aquarium!

A "morichal" is a lowland stream found in Savannah areas of South America, dominated by a certain type of palm tree, the Moriche Palm (Mauritia flexousa), and extensive riparium vegetation. This palm only grows were its roots can be underwater, and typically is found in groups, hence the term, "marital", which refers to a group of them! Although supplied with underground water sources throughout the year, these streams swell with water during seasonal flooding. Riparium vegetation and sandy substrates abound.

These bodies of water are home to a surprisingly large number of fishes, including some cool Tetras, dwarf cichlids, and others, which would make for a fascinating aquarium display. With a little creativity, one could simulate the growth of the riparium vegetation of the "morichal" by using the Aqua Verdi Riparium Planters and Aqua Verdi "Sunfish" Mini Riparium Planters to place beautiful marginal plants in the aquarium.

Although the waters in these habitats are largely clear, they are stained with tannins and are typically acidic in pH (usually 6.0 or less), and have a significant amount of roots and such from the terrestrial and riparium vegetation surrounding. You'll find lots of palm leaves, fruits, and seed pods submerged on the substrate in morichals.

Some good botanical additions to simulate this environment would be some of our palm-derived selections, such as  "Mariposa Pods", "Rio Fruta", Coco Curls, "Rio Passaro Pods" and "Concha Pods." You could simulate the fruits that fall into these waters with "Capsula Pods" and "Flor Rio Pods", rounding out the substrate with materials such as "Heart Pods", "Lampada Pods", and "Savu Pods."

Scattering these materials along the bottom of the aquarium would create a pretty good replication of the morichal environment!

Although not as productive as the Amazon itself, these environments often contain dozens of different fish species in relatively small areas, including characins, catfishes, and dwarf cichlids.

Unusual characin species, such as Hemiodus, are often found in these habitats. Occasionally available in the aquarium trade, they would make really cool "stars" for a specialized display like this!

Of course, some of the more popular characins, such as Pencilfishes and the beloved Neon Tetra, are found in morichals, which will lend a familiar, if not somewhat exotic look to your display!

And of course, who can leave out dwarf cichlids of the genus Apistogramma! Some of our fave fishes would be perfect in a biotope like this!

As a subject for a riparium study, the morichal environment presents a near perfect opportunity to stretch your aquatic creativity, while highlighting some well-known fishes in an unusual and not-often-replicated habitat! Think of the creative possibilities here!

With creative use of the many materials now available, it's possible to construct a very functional, easy-to-maintain, and realistic representation of this unique aquatic environment!

Get creative. Have fun. Learn a little.

And stay wet!

Scott Fellman

Tannin Aquatics





Scott Fellman
Scott Fellman


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